Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by cakewalk, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    My son called after work. My sister had told him I spoke with her today. I asked him to join us for dinner this evening and to talk. He agreed. I picked him up and he told me he spent the afternoon packing to come home. We stopped and picked up pizza.

    At dinner the four of us made light conversation. This is the first time my difficult child and husband have seen each other since February. My husband is a kind sole. He conversed at dinner as though he was dining with friends that he sees on a regular basis. I admire his strength.

    After dinner, we sat in the living room. It felt like an intervention of sorts. difficult child stated that he's matured and he did things wrong but realizes he wants to come home. He never once apologized, nor did he specifically address anyone. It was very generic. He said he lives in a house with his three brothers and two sisters (my sister's kids are apparently his brothers and sisters now) but that he misses easy child.

    I spoke next reminding my son of the chain of events from him walking out in February, to the emancipation request, to weeks without hearing from him, to my insisting on counseling, to his defiance against me for counseling, to asking him if he was ever coming home, his "No" response, to Wednesday nights decision to come home, to Friday night's decision to come home on Monday, to today. I asked him if he could understand why I'm questioning the sincerity of his returning for good.

    I also said, "I'm guessing you don't spend a lot of time with aunt's family. My guess is you come and go at your will. My guess is they ask you if you'll be around for dinner and wait for you to finalize your plans. If yes, they'll set a place, if no, that's fine, too. I would imagine you sort of do what you want when you want." He said, "Yep, that's about how it is."

    I reminded him how important family time is to husband and I.

    easy child spoke next and said, "Since you left in February, I have had sole privileges in this house, but also all the sole responsibilities in this house. I feel like an only child now and it feels like I'm all of a sudden getting a new baby brother. I am not sure I'm ready for the transition this quickly."

    That crushed my difficult child. He couldn't believe his brother didn't kiss his feet.

    difficult child said to easy child, "Well if you don't want me here, then forget it."

    I said, "This is hard on easy child. When you left, you never said goodbye to him. You didn't pull him aside. You just walked. You haven't called him or visited or seen him. You just disappeared on him and all of us have had to deal with this our own way and over time.

    My husband spoke next. He said he's willing to forgive and forget but he also said that difficult child knows exactly what he's getting from our family. He knows the rules, the love, the support, the family unit, etc. husband said, "We don't know what we're getting from you, what you're offering to bring to the table. I don't even feel I know you after the last six months. I haven't heard from you or spoken with you. If you want to reach out to me, I will be there, but you have to make the effort. I will never go back to the way this house was in February... not ONE time."

    I asked difficult child what his expectations upon returning were. I asked if he expected a cell phone? A car? Drivers license? What? He said he had no expectations.

    I asked what would prevent him from walking in three days/weeks/months? He didn't' answer. I asked if this was financially motivated? Is he facing senior year with sports fees, senior pictures, yearbook, lock-ins, Homecoming, etc? I reminded him I paid $1350.00 for his 8 week sport season in the spring and he and my sister and brother enjoyed the benefits of my payment. He said I enjoyed the benefits of the money when we sold his car so as far as he is concerned, we're even.

    He asked me to take him "home".

    My husband shook his hand and then gave him a hug. easy child gave him a hug. He and I drove back to aunt's. difficult child said, "I can't believe you accused me of wanting money. I have plenty of money." I told him I didn't accuse, I asked what I felt was a valid question. He said, "I have more money than I know what to do with. I have plenty of money!" I asked if Grandma is giving him money. He yelled, "Gawd, why can't you give me credit for anything! I work for my money."

    I asked what his therapist (he's a limited licensed psychologist) said about him wanting to come home. He said, "He told me if I'm happy at aunt's, don't move back home, stay where I am. And, I didn't listen to him." He got out of the car.

    I pick him up at 8:00 a.m. for counseling. He is devastated. He's also a tad angry. He's stubborn enough that he gave us one chance and we blew it so "off with our heads" if you will.

    I hurt all over again. My sister isn't doing ANY good for this child. He has a roof over his head, a ride when he needs it, food on the table, and the free will to come and go whenever he feels like it. He's been a joy to have around at my sister's because he has no care in the world over there!

    Her boys are up at their summer home working every day. They aren't chopping at the bit to have difficult child go anywhere. Quite the contrary. They're 2 1/2 hours away without mom because mom's at home making sure King difficult child is happy.
  2. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    After reading what you said about your conversation with difficult child tonight and his interaction with your family, my first impression is:

    He left when he decided he wasn't getting the complete and adoring attention of the household (you had expectations that he didn't want to follow), everyone's world didn't revolve around him and he was expected to be an active part of the family. He didn't get all of these things or didn't want to follow reasonable rules so he decided to leave. My gut feeling? He did this as punishment for you all. Now, he's decided that he's punished you enough and wants to come home so you will all be so grateful he decided to re-join the family and he can continue to live like a king.

    To me, it doesn't sound like he's ready to come home at all. I would be very curious as to what is said in counseling Monday. Of course, he isn't really being helped in any way at your sister's as you said so I don't really know what to say.

    But...that's just my personal opinion and it's only based on what I've read here.

    Whatever happens...HUGS
  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Oh, boy, does your situation get my blood boiling! In our case it was our cleaning ladies who decided they were our difficult child 2's "sisters", they don't believe in adoption.

    When we were trying to deal with his addictions and life on the streets, they swooped down on him and took him and his girlfriend in to their home (using the kids' Maine food stamps too). It broke difficult child 1's heart when he begged his twin to stay home. I will never forget the look on his face when his bro chose "freedom" over him! I don't think that pain between them will ever be resolved. We parents of difficult children have waged a war and lived in the trenches. These ignorant people, I call them "interlopers", DO NOT HAVE A CLUE!!! They should get a clue and leave us the H*** alone to deal with our problems.

    I am really proud of your easy child, that must have been hard, but well said. I'm proud of all of you.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It sure sounds like he thought you had been punished enough and you were ready to resume your place worshiping at his feet. He really sounds like he expected that you had learned the "error" of your ways and was shocked that you hadn't.

    The NERVE! Our difficult children sure do have guts. I can imagine my grandparents laughing uncontrollably if my parents ever tried that.

    It is good that you all sat him down and asked him what he was bringing to the table. He never expected to need to "bring something". You are right that your sister is doing him no favors. I would refuse to pay his senior class expenses completely. Let Mr. Moneybags foot the bill. He clearly has the money - he told you so.

    I would bet he is dealing drugs. It is one of the few ways a teen could have "plenty" of money on his own.

    Sending hugs to you, husband and easy child. Esp easy child as it took real strength to stand up to his brother.
  5. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    All three of you sound like the counselor CPS sent to our house every week and man do I miss her!

    As long as aunt is saving the world, this is a lose-lose situation for my immediate family and my difficult child.

    His friend's aunt apparently pays him cash to work on her property. He shows up every day for the amount of time he chooses and walks away with cash. He has $300 I guess, which to a kid is plenty of money.
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I am awestruck by your wonderful way of handling this tough situation, your calm questions, husband's kindness yet firmness, easy child's intelligence and ability to express himself. Honestly, most teens are not as thoughtful and well-spoken as your precious easy child. You raised a wonderful child and your family seems very solid.

    difficult child doesn't want any rules. He wants the financial benefits of you and husband without having to be a real part of the family. School's starting soon and maybe he's afraid his aunt won't have the $$$ to sign him up for all those sports. Since you, husband and easy child are so solid and difficult child doesn't want to be a part of your wonderful family unit, I'd personally let him stay with his aunt. It was his decision to go. He isn't on the streets. He has three meals if he wants them. And, although your sister in my opinion is a putz for not communicating with you, your son is safe and her problem now.

    I'd count my many blessings, and not feel badly. You are obviously a wonderful mother. Sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, our kids are born differently or wired differently and they don't want our love except on their terms. You don't say if husband is his natural father or not, but if he isn't, perhaps he inherited some of his personality from his father. Perhaps if his father has know what I mean.

    I commend you for your strong values, your kindness, your firmness, and your wonderful easy child. I don't think I could have handled a meeting like yours with such grace.
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I too commend you for that wonderful meeting! How good that all of you spoke your minds!

    You did your very best...that is all you can do!

    Don't sign any papers. If you feel any pressures in the the advice of any attorney.

    If you feel any sadness about any of this...see your own therapist or you and your husband see someone briefly.

    Let it go. Detach. Perhaps in time, your son will come around.

    You guys were open and honest. Values are good...all good.

    Your son seems manipulative. I have no idea what is going on with your sister...

    Enjoy life...enjoy your husband and other son. Wish your difficult child the best. Think good thoughts. Hopefully, he will continue with his therapy. I would still consider family therapy but if he misses appointments or if if becomes overly stressful for the family, I'm not sure if I would push too hard. It's a good thing that he is gong to therapy on his own and it's a GREAT thing that he has heard (at least on some level) what's what from each family member.

    Wishing you well!!!
    Lasted edited by : Aug 11, 2009
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow....Way To Go warrior mom. You impress me to no end. I think you handled this meeting with enough grace and courage that you should handle the Middle East peace I think you would do a far better job than anyone we have had lately!

    Your son sounds like a tough nut to crack. As long as he is being aided and abetted at your sisters he will stay tough. I think letting him be her problem is the way I would let it go since she seems to want this problem.
  9. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Cakewalk, I'll be interested to hear how this morning went with difficult child's appointment.

  10. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I also commend you for how you have been and are handling all of this. It cannot be anything less than gut-wrenching.

    Your easy child truly is a easy child. Talk about someone with a kind soul and a good handle on this tough situation!

    As for your sister, she will get what she deserves. I am willing to bet serious money that HER children are probably angry at her for helping to create "poor little" difficult child. They have to feel shorted by her favoritism.

    Keep up the good work! Let them know that when the bank acct is drained there will be no more $$$ for things.

    You truly DO have a good family, the three of you. difficult child refusing to be parented by you is a reflection on HIM, and on your sister. Maybe you should send condolences cards to your nieces/nephews? (Not sure which you have) I am willing to bet that they did not ask for or want King difficult child to be such a big part of their lives.

    Take the time to build memories and traditions with your husband and easy child.

    Lots of hugs!
  11. Vannin

    Vannin New Member

    It is wonderful to be in a place where people understand. I love the term interlopers. It is all too easy for them to swoop in at this stage, and believe that they are "saving" our children and providing the good parenting that we obviously did not give them. My GFC is in the process of coming back after one of these episodes. First we had to put up with the little sermons from the interloper on how he was going to provide the structure for this kid, and now that the gfc has broken his trust by stealing, he is sending him back, and we still have the lectures suggesting that it is our fault. I have been in a black place today, but confess that I feel a sense of relief finding that there are other people dealing with the same thing - in this case your sister and her children - which I suppose is mean of me in a way. I should wish that I was the only one and no one else has to deal with this.
  12. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Thank you for your support. easy child is certainly a mature young man at 13. He has wisdom like none I've seen.

    Yesterday we had an early counseling appointment. That goodness for "weather" because that was the entire conversation on the way to the appointment.

    Suz, I don't know how his appointment went. I really felt (and I may be wrong in this decision) that considering the events from the night before, my son probably had a lot to say and bounce off this doctor he apparently respects and trusts. I thought if I asked to be included yesterday, he may shut down. I'm sure difficult child had a slew of emotions from the night before, as all of us did.

    That being said, I will call the doctor. But, this is where I have no experience. I don't know what questions to ask. What tests? What evaluations do I request? Do I need a reason? I could tell the doctor that I want to be included in the sessions as well. I will definitely ask for a referral for a family therapist.

    I asked my son to come back home with me and have breakfast with the family. At first he said no but changed his mind and stayed until mid-afternoon. Baby steps.
  13. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Hi Cakewalk,

    I didn't really expect you to be included in the appointment; I was more curious about the rides to and from and your conversations there.

    In PA a child can stop medical treatments at age 14 and that includes mental health treatment/medications. I don't know where you live but your hands might be tied as well. I was lucky because we didn't tell Rob what his rights were (lol!) and by the time he was old enough to want to discontinue things he was under the supervision of the Juvenile Justice System so he couldn't make independent decisions anyway.

    I guess my point is that you might have already lost any real "say" in your son's therapy unless he approves your being involved. If that is the case, hopefully his desire to reunite with his family will supercede any reservations he might have.

    I am impressed with your patience and calm. Given your last few months, I know that I would be frantic for answers and explanations and diagnoses and treatment plans. Perhaps when you call his therapist you can talk about family counseling and go from there.

  14. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Exactly what I thought would happen. I haven't heard from my son since Monday when I dropped him off. My sister came home from her cottage on Monday and heard we didn't let him just move back in. I called my son today and he's basically closed the door on ever coming back. His communication to me was exactly what my sister has told him for the last four days. (My son was a parrot. The words were not his, but hers. I've seen it for the last six months.)

    1. He was ambushed by us Sunday night.

    2. easy child is a spoiled brat, who has everything he wants and doesn't want to share it anymore (but difficult child acknowledged, he would feel the same way.) difficult child said easy child's speech to him was scripted, like he had written it down and rehearsed it.

    3. He shouldn't have to interview to come home.

    4. He shouldn't have wasted two hours packing. If I knew he wasn't allowed to come home, I should have told him in advance. (I wanted him to come home. I did tell him okay on Friday night. I do feel horrible about that. But, I also told him not to unpack and let's make strides to get him home sooner than later.)

    5. It's not bad at aunt's house so he might as well stay.
    His counselor asked him why he wanted to come home anyway when my son first mentioned it to him. (I've never spoken with the guy. He's only going by my son's account.) Apparently the counselor told him if it wasn't bad at aunt's why would he want to come back here.

    6. The counselor then told him this last Monday that difficult child shouldn't have to beg to come home. That we should have just opened our doors to him with no questions asked. The counselor told my son that I would called, I would turn it around that he didn't work hard enough for this and therefore it's his fault. My son said the counselor nailed that one. (I said, "This was our first conflict of feelings, if you will, and you've already slammed the door shut instead of working towards repairing this relationship.)

    7. We set him up Sunday. He will never reach out to us again.

    I've placed a call to his counselor's office, but got voice mail. How does a counselor make the determination he did when only hearing one side of the story, namely a 17 year old kid's version?

    I also asked my difficult child to have my sister call me.

    Bottom line, I guess it's better to have my heart ripped out right now than in three weeks, after he was moved back in, and he blew out of here back to my sister's house. It was inevitable. Nothing has changed.

    I AM SO SAD!!
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Is your son telling you what the counselor told him? Chances are it is only partial truths. Don't worry about it in the least.

    If you can meet with the counselor...that might be good. Did he ever recommend someone for the entire family?

    Stick to your guns. You and your husband decide what you want and need from your son and for the family.

    Are you really signficantly concerned about what your sister thinks? You said that you strongly feel your son is parroting her? If that is the case...what is the big deal?

    If your son is jealous of easy child...this is normal. Your son can have more if he does more. He has heard what he needs to do. If he doesn't want to do it, it's his choice. No one elses. If your son wants to be a slave to his damaging is his choice. It's good that he is going to a therapist and this should be praised, and it is good that he went to that family meeting, but he now needs to agree to what was said there.
    Perhaps more family meetings are in order (I don't know....maybe you know on some level if that would work). Perhaps he could come over once a week for dinner and a "family meeting."

    I do hope you and your husband are learning to put this aside when and where possible and are enjoying your time together as a couple.
  16. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    Thank you, Nomad, for the response. Sometimes I think only the people on this board understand.

    My sister ended up calling me back and it was terrible. She said my son wanted to come home, and as his mother, I should have picked him up in five minutes no questions asked. She referred to the prodigal son in the Bible where the father welcomed the son with open arms. She then said that she knows without a shadow of a doubt that I am not a Christian and no one will ever convince her otherwise.

    She said I punched him in the gut on Sunday night (figuratively) and he will never, ever get over this. She said that I am so vindictive and nasty that I waited for this opportunity for him to want to come home to tell him no out of pure hate and spite for him leaving in February.

    She gritted her teeth and said, "He can't stand your husband!" This is the stuff my son has heard from her for four days. This is what I escaped when I walked from my family. Yes, they convince you the sky is yellow if they want you to.

    That's why I care what she says because it took me forty years to understand it.

    In the meantime, I spoke with my son again. My sister has convinced him that what we did was wrong and he told me he is never coming home, he's not begging for anything, and that he's done.

    My husband called him and left a message for my son to call him back. My son emailed me and told me to tell my husband he has nothing to say to him. So, there you go.

    There will be no gatherings or common ground or working toward anything. My sister will continue to take care of him, spinning this that we set him up Sunday night, and there will be no looking back.

    The counselor did not call me back. difficult child's next appointment is Monday and I will be picking him up and taking him.
  17. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Cakewalk, if it's any consolation, please remember how truly YOUNG your son is. OMG, if I still adhered to what I believed at 17...

    Anyway. He is young. He is being influenced by outside sources. in my humble opinion, when someone throws a Biblical story in your face and accuses you of not being a "Christian", that's the biggest contradiction in terms you can get. Think about it.........would a *REAL CHRISTIAN* be so thoughtless and hurtful to you?

    So please consider the source.

    I would suggest backing off. Take a breather for a few weeks. Enjoy your husband and easy child. They appreciate you. The other are idle threats because TIME has a way of biting people on their backsides and changing many things.

    Big hugs,
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Perhaps when you drive your son to see the counselor, if you find a calm moment with him, you can reiterate why the rest of the family was hesistant to have him back in the home and how it would take a complete change in attitude and behavior on his part for you and them to even consider a move back home. If he is not willing to do any of this, that is fine. You can continue with the current situation...the way it is. Shake your emotions out of it. Also spend some time with him talking about enjoyable things and about the future.

    As best as you are able, I would not concern yourself with what your sister says. It seems like she also likes to manipulate people. Perhaps you should keep your conversations with her somewhat brief.

    The weekend is you and your husband have any plans?
  19. Star*

    Star* call 911

    Cakewalk -

    I admire your ability to sit back and let life happed despite what is being thrown your way. Not an easy task. Especially when you love your child like you do.

    I've been to therapy a long time, and so has difficult child. One thing I can tell you is that kids get out of it what they want to get out of it a lot of the time. The counselor may have said "Well if you have it so good at your Aunts what makes you want to move back in with your parents?" as a way to make him open up to the counselor about his feelings of home and your SON took that in his 13 year old head and twisted it around to mean "Well you've got it good at your aunts why would you want to go home?" See? Perception.

    Then you have your sister who is PROBABLY not really 100% thrilled to have your son living with her kids but wouldn't DARE ever say anything less she loose even an infintessimile percent of her self-perceived martyr roll. I am sure conversations behind closed doors are very different than conversations in front of your sons face regarding his living there. I can tell you this first hand after having my son go live with his own Grandmother who BEGGED me in tears to allow my son to come live with her.

    I think my conversation with my son in the car, like Suz said would be the most valuable time at this point. And since everyone is SO willing to interject THEIR opinions on your son - why not suggest to this therapist that your SISTER, your son, and YOUR family all join in once a night for FAMILY therapy? I bet that would go over well? I mean if she's REALLY serious about his well being - couldn't she spare a night to see how things should progress in a therapeutic light? If she refuses what message does that send to the therapist? THat she's ALWAYS right? If she goes - then what would that let the therapist KNOW? If you're there - that would give YOU a chance to defend yourself instead of this he said she said business.

    At 13 you think he's shut the door completely to you and your family. At 18 my son closes the door on us three times a day forever. I was so sure when we put him out at 16 that we'd never see him again that I was in near shock the first time I got a call from him. But I do see you doing a lot of things very right. I think the get together at the restaurant was very good, and easy child telling him how he felt was great. difficult child needs to know that there are people in this world he can't walk on. Even if it is his brother.

    You're a great warrior Mom CW.....Keep up the good work!
  20. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Sure seems like a lot of outside people in your family. Way too much "he said, she said".
    I would probably cut out sharing anything important about difficult child with sis. Make your focus about your household.
    Understanding expectations of each family membe isn't having him audition but more of a job description.
    Don't we all have job descriptions as a member of the family? What does he think his role should be?

    Also, he doesn't have to like your husband but he should treat him with respect. After all you and husband have provided him with a home if he wants it. Biting the hand that feeds you shows fear and lack of appreciation.

    I'm not sure why he feels he should believe everyone else.

    Your sister had her turn to raise kids. She shouldn't be mom to difficult child but an aunt. She should be encouraging difficult child to problem solve and accept at least half of the responsibility for the situation that he is in.

    Hopefully, you, husband, easy child and difficult child will find some common ground to rebuild a foundation but I don't see it happening until difficult child stops believing all the negative info that he seems to be fed.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2009